Victoria’s Secret at Crossgates to expand

At a time when Victoria’s Secret is coping with being “too sexy,” the lingerie retailer is slipping

At a time when Victoria’s Secret is coping with being “too sexy,” the lingerie retailer is slipping into new digs in the Capital Region.

The overhaul of a second area Victoria’s Secret store is expected to start soon at Crossgates Mall, following the 2006 makeover of the lingerie chain’s Colonie Center location.

The four-month renovation of the Colonie Center store turned it into a sleek black-and-white store with a pink polka-dot entrance for its Pink collection department. It has a more metropolitan look compared to the warm bedroom look at Crossgates in Guilderland.

The Crossgates store will be renovated in a way similar to the Colonie Center location, said Victoria’s Secret spokeswoman Tammy Roberts Myers. The Colonie store had to temporarily relocate in the mall during the renovations, and the Guilderland store will likely do the same.

“It was a brand new prototype and they did it here,” said Colonie Center General Manager Joseph Millet.

Guilderland planning officials last month approved plans by the Columbus, Ohio-based Limited Brands to demolish and renovate the Crossgates store. While the remodeled Colonie Victoria’s Secret stayed in its 6,000-square-foot footprint, the Guilderland store will grow by 2,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.

“It’s not just expanding to expand, but it’s expanding for new offerings,” said Roberts Myers.

Limited, the parent of Victoria’s Secret, has been expanding the size of many of its stores as it ventures into new lines, such as sports apparel and accessories. It is also facing heightened competition as retailers, such as the Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch, roll out lingerie lines.

“The store renovation is going with their new image,” Guilderland Zoning Administrator Donald Cropsey said of Victoria’s Secret.

After seeing same-store sales drop 8 percent in the fourth quarter, Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Officer Sharon Turney said the company had become “too sexy” and that it would return its “brand heritage.” In a February conference call, Turney said Victoria’s Secret is “pulling together an ultra-feminine presentation from all of our sub brands.” She noted that even the retailer’s Super Bowl commercial was “less seductive.”

In fall, Limited opened 23 new stores and remodeled 73. But the nation’s economic downturn is forcing the retailer to curb its expansion plans. This spring, it will open 31 stores and remodel 45.

The Victoria’s Secrets at the Wilton Mall and Rotterdam Square mall will not undergo renovations this year, but that option will likely be considered when the stores’ lease expire, said Becky Calenti, the marketing manager for both malls.

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